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Yes Virginia

Written by Francis P. Church

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus
By Francis P. Church, first published in The New York Sun in 1897.
[See The People’s Almanac, pp. 1358–9.]
We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication
below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its
faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is
no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.”
Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have
been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not
believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is
not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia,
whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great
universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect
as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured
by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and
knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love
and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound
and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary
would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as
dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike
faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.

We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight.
The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would
be extinguished. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as
well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire
men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch
Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming
down, what would that prove?

Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is
no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those
that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies
dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that
they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the
wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the
noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world
which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength
of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart.

Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain
and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond.
Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else
real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives
forever.

A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years
from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

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